Herald Journal Columns
Jan. 2, 2006, Herald Journal

Stay connected with your children

By JENNI SEBORA

Through my son’s Scholastic book order at school recently, I purchased a delightful book on winter poetry.

What could be better than that? I enjoy the winter season and poetry, and so the two coupled together make a wonderful treat to “cozy down to” with a cup of hot cocoa to enjoy.

In a book titled “Winter Poems,” which includes selections of winter poetry by various authors, Barbara Rogasky, who selected the poems, noted that winter was a favorite season of hers because the air smells good, the streets look cleaner, and winter just slows everything down, which is wonderful in our busy world.

She also noted that the color and light over the snow’s blanket of white are always changing and ever glorious. What a wonderful way to look at winter. It’s amazing how printed word can bring out the most wonderful messages.

Poetry has a way of “speaking” to us like no other printed word, putting meaning behind short phrases or carefully chosen words. I would like to share with you some winter poems that you, too, can interpret and find special meaning in, reminding us that sharing poetry with our children is a wonderful gift to them, and that winter is a wonderful time of year.

This poem is titled”Winter Dark,” by Lilian Moore.

“Winter dark comes early

mixing afternoon

and night.

Soon

there’s a comma of a moon,

and each street light

along the

way

puts its period

to the end of the day.

Now

a neon sign

punctuates the

dark with a bright blinking

breathless

exclamation mark!”

My two older children and I made a trip to the movie theater to take in the movie “Yours, Mine, and Ours.” It was a delightful movie about two large families that were joined into one even larger family.

A man and woman, who were high school sweethearts and whose spouses had each passed away a few years prior, met up again, fell in love, and got married. (I believe this movie was a re-make. Lucille Ball starred in the original.)

I enjoyed the movie, not without shedding a few tears from my sentimental side because it made me feel that the the “craziness” of having a family of five, well, six, with my mom, is not so “crazy” compared to what a family of 20 deals with. Everything is relevant and must be put into perspective.

The other wonderful part about the movie experience is that I was able to spend some one-on-one time with my son, which I don’t get the opportunity to do as much as I do with my daughters. I felt like I got to know him all over again, and learn again what a wonderful, unique human being he is.

During the movie, and some time after, we talked, shared, laughed, and just spent time together. It reminded me again how important it is to “get to know” and to get “reacquainted” with each child on a regular basis. It is important to stay connected with each child, no matter what age.

I remember reading a recommendation to pick one night a week to spend some extra time with an individual child while the other ones are sleeping. Allow your child to stay up a little later that night and just talk, share, play a short game, or read a book together with just him or her. You could even name the day that is chosen after the child, so Wednesday is “Caleb day,” for example.

In fact, research shows that the more parents and adults are connected with their children as they grow and get older, the less likely they (the children) will get involved in risk-taking behavior and negative activities, such as drug use. It is important to talk with our kids and to listen to them on a regular basis.

On the website, www.theantidrug.com, an anonymous teen wrote, “Let them know that you are always there for them, no matter what. It means a lot. It may seem like we’re not listening, but we really are.”

May it be a new year’s resolution for us all, to stay connected with “our children.” They deserve it.